Jeremy Baker

Starting the year out right

Final catch up of books I have finished reading: Babel by R. F. Kuang 📚

Finished reading: The Life and Death of States by Natasha Wheatley 📚

Finished reading: The Glass Wall by Max Egremont 📚

Finished reading: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford 📚

Finished reading: Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell 📚

Finished reading: Great Kingdoms of Africa by John Parker 📚

Excellent overview of some of the more prominent kingdoms of Africa from Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia in the northeast, to Ghana, Mali and Songhay in the west, to Kongo and Buganda in the centre, and the Zulu in the south.

Finished reading: Princes of the Renaissance by Mary Hollingsworth 📚

A delightfully crafted history of some of the leading “princes” of Renaissance Italy and their families. Ties together family,politics, war, literature and art in an insightful combination that reveals a great deal about the era. A highly innovative approach to history.

Finished reading: Death in the Sauna by Dennis Altman 📚

Fantastic gay mystery / crime novel by one of the greats. Highly recommended.

Finished reading: The Fall of Númenor by J. R. R. Tolkien 📚

A new edition of this came out recently and it’s marvellous.

Finished reading: The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz 📚

Finished reading: Beowulf by Seamus Heaney 📚

Seamus Heaney’s brilliant verse translation of the Old English original into modern English is widely regarded as one of the best. It captures the verve and vitality of the original for a modern audience, and has played a significant role in a rebirth in the popularity of the poem - including inspiring new interpretations.

Finished reading: Beowulf: a Translation and Commentary, Together with Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien 📚

Tolkien’s prose translation of the Old English poem “Beowulf” aims to hew closely to the original sense and details of the poem. In this Tolkien’s scholarly expertise in Old English is evident. But it looses some of the poetic majesty of the original - and of Seamus Heaney’s later verse translation.

Finished reading: Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree 📚

Absolutely loved this book. The characters are great and it’s such a gentle, heartwarming story (with enough occasional edge to keep it interesting). And what’s not to like? Retired lesbian Orc mercenary freebooter sets up a coffee house and gathers round her a glorious found family of misfits, including a dire-cat, a genius rat-kin baker, a stone-mason bard who wants to play ‘modern’ music, and also someone to fall in love with? What a story :)

Finished reading: Translation State by Ann Leckie 📚

A surprising and inventive book of science-fiction that explores what it means to be ‘human’ - but metaphorically and literally (within the story). Great characters and a satisfying story and ending.

My unread book stacks are a little out of control.

Having acknowledged I have a problem, I’m doing “No Book Buying August” ❌📚❌ - wish me luck… 😳😢🤪

The latest set of books borrowed from the Eva Street Library:

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Enjoy, Theo and Claude!

Finished reading: The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox 📚

Finished reading: Lie With Me by Philippe Besson 📚

A gloriously written story of hidden first love in 1980s provincial France, reminding us of the loss, pain and wasted opportunities created by social oppression. The final pages pack an incredible punch that will stay with me for a very long time.

The fact I was a teenager in this time period and had lived in France only a few years earlier deepened the impact on me significantly. Philippe Besson is incredible.

Candlelit study #candle #books #study #library

Stacks of books and notebook illuminated by a candle.

Great way to start the day after a fabulous concert 🎶 📚 🥯 #deli #federalstreetdelicatessen #florenceandthemachine #concert #books #unitybooks #auckland #tāmakimakaurau

bag of books from Unity in a booth at Federal Deli

If anyone in Pōneke needs an in-depth guide to the Scythians and other historical steppe peoples I can probably help 😂. I actually did not set out to create this collection… but now that I have it I love it 😍 📚 #books #history #scythians #steppe #collection #serendipity

A bookshelf with 10 books about the ancient Scythians or related steppe peoples

Temporary solution to the 2023 shelving crisis - double stacking. Not an acceptable long term solution but needs must… 📚 #books #shelving #crisis #2023

Horribly over stacked double shelved book case

Currently reading: The Darker Angels of Our Nature edited by Philip Dwyer 📚

A refutation of psychologist Steven Pinker’s 2012 “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by historians of violence. The editor is the Professor of History and Director of the Centre for the Study of Violence at the University of Newcastle, and co-editor of Cambridge World History of Violence.

A Man and His Pride by Luke Rutledge

Review: A Man and His Pride by Luke Rutledge 📚

This was the prefect book to read on the way home from Sydney World Pride 2023. It has been a while since a book made me both laugh out loud and cry for the characters and for the things they represent. Luke Rutledge’s debut novel is set at the time of Australia’s Same Sex Marriage referendum. It skilfully weaves a tale of flawed deeply human people dealing with different sorts of trauma inflicted by many varieties of homophobia and self repression. It’s equally a story about how heteronormative expectations damage us all - queer or straight - but also about the gentle love of friendship can help us overcome and heal our hurts. Truly, love wins - just not always how you expect it will.